A PBE Miracle 2-The miracle continues stateside
27th May 2019
The reward for the first-place success from the British Union Conference (BUC) Pathfinder Bible Experience (PBE) finals was a chance for the Glasgow Pathfinder team to travel to Rockford College, Illinois for the North American Division (NAD) PBE finals. The excitement seemed to fuel the enthusiasm among parents and the team members. The book of Luke that has 24 chapters and the theme section of its Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary was now the daily bread for the Pathfinders as they made preparations. The team congregated around their gadgets, not to play Fortnite but rather to use the Mission’s online Zoom platform to practice the quiz questions and support each other through studying their allocated chapters of Luke. For any form of success, sacrifices must be made and some children skipped their much-loved extra-curricular activities so that they would not miss the intense phase of their PBE practice, to parents’ pleasant surprise.
The dream seemed unreal but parents’ prayers and faith set the scene. The trip needed to be financed and what seemed an insurmountable task was achieved through parent’s contributions, generous donations from the club’s Local Church, Scottish Mission of Seventh-day Adventists, and other Scottish Mission churches and members. The elusive American dream became real. With the support of the NAD, BUC, SEC, NEC and Scottish Mission leadership, the American visas, school letters and US travel authorization were sought, accommodation close to the testing venue secured, team transportation hired, and the British pounds exchanged for the green buck.
The date of travel could not have come any sooner for the team. Tuesday 23rd April, Glasgow International Airport registered the presence of the Scottish Seventh-day Adventists. 13 hours later, and after a stopover at Dublin International Airport, the team were at Terminal 5 of Chicago O’Hare international airport. It was everyone’s first time to America. Among other things, the idea of driving on the right-hand side of the road was nothing short of nerve-wrecking for the leaders as the team drove from the airport to the hotel. But nothing is impossible for the children of the Most-High God. Everyone was alert and kept reminding each other to stick to the ‘wrong side’ of the road.
What is jet-lag when you are on a tight schedule? After what seemed like 40 winks, it was time to head to Michigan, a 3 hour drive from Rockford. There, the team had a tour of Andrews University in Berrien Springs. The University was previously known as Battle Creek College before being named Andrews University, after John Nevins Andrews, an Adventist Minister, writer, editor, scholar and the first officially sponsored overseas missionary for the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The team was lavished with gifts from the Administration/Communications department and was also well nourished from the healthy meals in their canteen. The tour of the different departments was very inspirational for the young ones as they contemplated how spiritually fulfilling it might be to study from our very own institution.
An hour away from Andrews is the historic Adventist village, an opportunity not be missed. Pastor Ikwisa from the NEC booked the team to visit the Adventist Heritage site. The tour started with a video of the life of Dr John Kellogg and how he influenced people to a healthy lifestyle. Now the children will eat their Kelloggs cereal with pride. Bob Bradford who gave the team a tour of the village was such a gentleman of prayer who prayed for the team at every station. The team visited the one room restored schoolhouse. They sat in the classroom and learned about the growth of Adventist education from its beginnings in Battle Creek in 1872. The team also sat in the Parkville Church and learned of how Ellen White had a vision predicting the Civil War three months before the first shots were fired.
The highlight of the visit to the Adventist Village was the visit to the homes of John and Betsy White (Parents of James White) and James and Ellen White's house. James and Ellen White's house is an 1856 home where Ellen White wrote the first edition of the Great Controversy and Spiritual gifts Volume 1. Seeing the chair where she sat writing the books, her bed, the prayer room and the grandparents’ section of the house was surreal. Some team members had read part of the church heritage and the experience of standing in what was one of the Adventist Church founder’s home was more than money could pay for. The tour ended at the Oak Hill Cemetery, the burial site of the White family and Dr Kellogg.
A mini-shopping spree and a visit to the malls would not hurt anyone, except the pocket. Fortunately for them, the children had a little pocket money from their parents. Impressively, most seemed less concerned about shopping for themselves than for their siblings and loving parents who work so hard to provide for them. The caliber of the children shone through, as they were being selfless and responsible.
Sabbath arrived quickly. Even though the nerves were kicking in, it was a calming thought to know that this was the first Scottish Mission team to reach this level. 209 teams gathered at Rockford college sports hall on 28 April 2019 and the Glasgow team from the Scottish Mission was among the 43 teams from the BUC. Meanwhile back in Glasgow Church, the 28th was International Day. This wonderful and colourful day celebrating the diversity is nothing short of a feast. The festive spirit of the day did not distract the Church from committing the team in prayer. The Quiz was streamed live on Facebook. The church put their multitasking skills to test, trying to participate in the International Day and follow events as they unfolded in Chicago
The testing finally began and the team worked together through the whole 90 questions. The nail-biting moment came when the results were announced and what a long wait it was. In the UK, it was not until around 1am when the announcement was made but eyes were still glued onto the NED Facebook page to witness the big occasion. The shock on their faces when they heard ‘Glasgow Pathfinders, first place’ could win the best picture of the year. Screams were heard from some households in the UK as the announcement came through. “Yes, yes they did it!!”” The correct scream should have been “yes , yes He did it” because all those nights and days of study could not have paid if God had not been the pillar.
THANKS AND LOOKING AHEAD
The team could not have done it without the support of the parents, Pastor Rory and Pastor Ivana Mendez, and their club leader Semone Pollard and her staff.
This whole experience is definitely one to repeat. It is every parent’s dream to see their children not only study schoolbooks but also the Bible. Most importantly, God in heaven rejoices when He sees his children dedicate their lives to Him and spend time getting to know Him. America was fun but PBE isn’t about America, its about supporting children to study the Bible in fact I would say it should be ‘Total Member Bible Experience’. I hope that next year we will see all the churches in the Scottish Mission be part of PBE and all members engaged to study the following set Bible books: Ezra, Nehemiah, Hosea, Amos, Jonah, and Micah. Preparation starts now.
A SPECIAL TESTIMONY
The Muvwanga family shared the impact this has had. Kelly and Dasline Muvwanga, report:
“We would like to share the impact of PBE on Matthew’s school and the community. This is what the school put on their Twitter account “Great to have this boy back from his amazing trip to America, where he represented Glasgow in the Pathfinder Bible Experience Finals in Rock Valley College, Rockford Chicago Illinois. His team took first place. A great testament to his hard work! Well done!”).
Kelly continues “The Headteacher also put all photos we sent them on the school notice board where anyone who enters the school doors can see. Today, (1st May), Matthew is presenting to the class and on Friday, the Headteacher will give a slot for PBE presentation during assembly. To us, PBE has never been about the USA. It’s been about how God can be known in Glasgow through our children. This experience for Matthew has shown over 300 young people that you can still be at Church and still have a lot of fun and enjoyment.”
A huge “Amen” is in order.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
“My PBE trip was amazing. It was so beautiful and the experience was just fantastic. I loved meeting everyone and making new friends and all the exciting activities they had were cool. There was even a Memory Verse table where if you memorised 6 verses, you would get 6 badges for yourself (I didn’t try out though)” Mwenda Mwiinga
“I really enjoyed the experience. I liked the trips that we had. Of course, it was hard to learn but once you got it, it’s a nice experience.” Jansine Baraka
“Personally, I really enjoyed the Pathfinder Bible Experience. All the fun we had but mostly to have the ability to study God’s word.” Janelle Baraka
“I enjoyed PBE. It was fun and it brought us all Pathfinders together. And I learned a few things about some fellow Pathfinders that I didn’t know before. You see, it’s just pleasant being together and giving courage and support to one another. It also helped me to connect with my Bible more, and there were interesting things in the Bible that I never knew. I also loved traveling with my team. It’s just nice to be together.” Anesu Mandaza
“Overall, I had a very good experience. PBE taught me a lot about teamwork and made me closer with my Church family. It also brought me closer to God and helped me realise I was capable of scheduling time to read and learn about the Bible.” Tiffany Mbiba
“My PBE experience has been fun. I enjoyed learning about Luke and learning more about Jesus. I enjoyed working with my team because they are now really close friends of mine and I learned more about them. It’s funny knowing your best friend’s strong points and weaknesses. My overall experience was fun and I am happy I am getting to do it again.” Melissa Kasowenjete
“It was fun going to a new Country, seeing places that I would never have particularly seen in the UK like the number of toll stations there was, not that much mountains and different types of food. Going to America for the final division of the PBE was intense, particularly seeing all the different teams and knowing that this is our first time doing this within a short space of time. We needed to pull together as a team and this helped us to be successful. We had a great experience visiting Andrews University, one of the largest private Adventist universities located in Michigan. We also enjoyed a meal at the Ellen White homestead after touring the house that Ellen G. White lived in. Overall, it was a wonderful first time overseas PBE experience.” Dominic Ncube
“I really enjoyed PBE because it taught me that you can do anything that you put your mind to.” Matthew Muvwanga
[Mthoko Ndlovu; Eddie Mwiinga]